We could see a cable gigabit boom in the market beginning next year, now that companies like Comcast are getting set to roll out DOCSIS 3.1.
In a blog post, Comcast Vice President of Access Technology Jorge Salinger stopped short of offering firm rollout plans, instead noting only that the company plans to begin deploying DOCSIS 3.1 throughout its network starting in 2016. But the headline “The Next Phase of Gigabit Technology is Nearly Here, and it’s Awesome” suggests that DOCSIS 3.1 powered gigabit is very much in the company’s plans.
DOCSIS 3.1 “holds the key to making gigabit speeds a reality for everyone,” Salinger boasts in the blog post, also noting that DOCSIS 3.1 development has moved very fast and “is now being implemented by every major equipment maker in the Internet space.”
Some cable companies already have done gigabit rollouts, but generally have done so using either fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) or current-generation DOCSIS 3.0 technology, which can support gigabit speeds over hybrid fiber coax (HFC) infrastructure on a limited basis. DOCSIS 3.1 also is based on HFC, which should enable cable companies to upgrade relatively easily to gigabit speeds, in much the same way that those telcos that have deployed FTTH find it a relatively easy upgrade to deliver gigabit service.
Another important aspect of cable gigabit upgrades involving DOCSIS 3.1 is that they occur on a franchise-wide basis because of the way those systems are architected. Telcos, in contrast, may target considerably smaller geographic areas for gigabit upgrades – at least initially.
In his blog post, Salinger also notes that DOCSIS 3.1 will make Comcast’s network “far more efficient, both in terms of how we use bandwidth, and how we consume energy.”